'But How Do You Know?'
Finally, maybe your best answer is not, “No, never,” but instead, “Not right now.” Given a little time, “everybody” could be making it less risky and more affordable for you to try.
Are you just a little bit scared?
Scared is good, as long as you’re only slightly uncomfortable and not terrified. First, it means you’re alert and aware — both good things when a lot of money is at stake.
Being uneasy means you’re not proof positive that nothing bad can come of testing this creative, and there’s at least a tiny chance it could turn out to be a stink bomb instead of the future grand control you hope it will be a decade from now.
Creative that makes you a little twitchy means you’re not falling into the “nothing ventured, nothing gained” testing pothole, and you’re making your test budget count for something meaningful, even if it’s to learn that “everybody’s doing it” doesn’t work for you.
If you have to suck up a taste of fear, relish it because it means you haven’t made a fatal error and revised the new creative into oblivion, turning it right back into your comfortable, old control. Because really, what’s the point of testing that?
Did you kick the tires?
If what we do as fundraisers is both art and science — and I believe it is — then the worthiness of new creative can’t be considered in isolation. “How do you know?” when it comes to new offers, copy and design can’t be answered meaningfully without due diligence on the numbers side, particularly at both extremes.
Assume the new creative performs as poorly as the worst thing you ever tried. Plugging in what you know testing it will cost, how bad does your worst-case scenario bottom-line net (loss) look? Can you live with it?